Potential Negative Consequences of Regular Cannabis Use for Health

Although cannabis is a natural plant and can be used for some specific medical purposes, it is not harmless, nor banal.

Use of cannabis by a pregnant woman could have negative impacts on the child. For example, the substance can affect:

  • Growth during childhood
  • Development of cognitive functions
  • Child’s IQ

A child whose mother used cannabis during her pregnancy may also develop attention deficit disorders. In some cases, these effects may only emerge during adolescence.

The brain develops significantly from adolescence to early adulthood. Some parts of the brain are therefore more vulnerable to the effects of cannabis. In adolescents, the fact of starting to use cannabis at an early age and using it frequently can be harmful to brain development. Adolescents who use cannabis on a regular basis are more likely to suffer from memory disorders or have problems with learning, memory, mathematics and reading at school.

Dependency (Addiction)

Use of cannabis can lead to psychological dependency and to mild physical dependency. Overdoses from cannabis are extremely rare.

The addictive potential of cannabis is usually established at 9%, but rises to 16% for people who begin to use the substance during adolescence. For comparison purposes, the addictive potential of alcohol is 23%.

The risk of becoming dependent is estimated at 9% for cannabis users. However, this figure increases to 16% for people who start using the substance during adolescence. Adolescents and young adults who use cannabis, even if only occasionally, are more likely to become addicted to cannabis, other drugs, alcohol or tobacco during adulthood.

Psychotic Symptoms or Disorders

Regular cannabis use appears to be associated with psychotic symptoms and psychotic disorders. The risk of developing these symptoms and disorders is greater for:

  • People who started using cannabis during adolescence;
  • Users with a personal or family history of psychiatric problems.

Last update: November 30, 2017 4:32 PM